Austin Crane’s “Place at the Table”
From Columbia, South Carolina, Austin Crane consists of Austin Crane (guitar, vocals), James Gibson (bass), Nathan Poole (lead guitar, back-up vocals), and Caleb Weathersby (percussion). With “I Know My Hands,” their debut record already notched on their belt, Austin Crane is sort of reborn with their latest and definitely more powerful release, “Place at the Table.” […]Luke Goddard
out of 10
Place at the Table
October 23, 2009
From Columbia, South Carolina, Austin Crane consists of Austin Crane (guitar, vocals), James Gibson (bass), Nathan Poole (lead guitar, back-up vocals), and Caleb Weathersby (percussion). With “I Know My Hands,” their debut record already notched on their belt, Austin Crane is sort of reborn with their latest and definitely more powerful release, “Place at the Table.” The record is full of attitude. With “Place at the Table,” fans of Austin Crane really gain a glimpse into Crane’s soul. Clearly, inside this man is a large amount of a lot of things: peace, frustration, joy, anxiety, hope, love, faith, recklessness, fear, brilliance, wisdom, anger, doubt, and hunger. All of these elements are constantly at war inside this belly of a man, and somehow, Crane is able to capture this war with words and transfer them on to “Place at the Table.” It’s truly a remarkable feat. Artists, whether it is songwriters, musicians, photographers, painters, sculptures, or writers, strive for a lifetime to accomplish such a task. The result? The majority of them fail. Well folks, this 22 year old singer-songwriter may have just baffled all critics with this release.
As the record played on repeat, I found myself waiting on this young man to explode. The war of elements taking place inside of him, as portrayed on the record, is tangibly real. Crane’s friends, the rest of Austin Crane, simply astonish me with their ability to place the perfect notes around an intense portrayal of such a fierce war of emotions. The record is much more than a jar full of emotions though. The vast array of emotions are simply the product of one, Austin Crane, wrestling with a force much more powerful than his mortal body.
With “Place at the Table,” Austin Crane is relentless. He takes on a giant with less than a sling-shot and a couple of stones. It’s done with Crane’s bare-hands. It’s honest; it’s raw. The band refuses to hold back. How does the typical listener react? Perhaps my brief testimony regarding my experience with the record will help answer this question. After listening to the record all the way through for the first time, I did not know whether to cry, hide, remain still, or run as fast as I could. Crane stirred so many deep emotions within me that it left me sitting with a stone-cold face– no expression whatsoever. I simply did not know how to react. Perplexed and overwhelmed. I did not know whether it was myself speaking throughout each song on the record or someone else. Crane’s lyrics do the talking and the music that clothes the words, as brilliantly composed by Gibson, Weathersby, and Poole, drives it home. If it is possible, the initial listen left me in an ironically pleasant, bewildered state. Perhaps the most memorable song off the record, “Teeth in Your Side,” definitely demonstrates Crane’s fascination with the famous writer, Flannery O’Connor. In many ways, “Teeth in Your Side” really ties the knot for the record. Without it, the record is incomplete. With it, suddenly, “Place at the Table” becomes a “Record of the Year” candidate for The Blue Indian. The record clearly presents a vigorous battle that one must face nose to nose. And songs like “Teeth in Your Side” and “Tow the Line” are seen as the reckoning moment with spirits much more powerful than the band, Austin Crane, and their listeners–us. I only hope that Austin Crane chooses to work with the always amazing Kenny McWilliams, producer, for their next project. The Blue Indian may give a record a 10/10 once every 5 years. Who knows? Rest assured, it will NOT happen very often. How often do you run across a perfect record? Hardly ever, except now. Austin Crane’s “Place at the Table” easily earns this 10. The record is flawless. Period.